Grade 5 Transition to Middle School
King believes that using an intentionally designed, two-year, Grades 5-6, sequence as an incremental progression into the middle school prepares early adolescents for greater academic, social, and emotional success later in the middle and upper schools. This progression capitalizes on the developmental stage of Grade 5 students by positioning them as confident leaders of the Lower School — an important part of supporting them in their early adolescence — while also exposing them to the content, skills, and transitional experiences that will prepare them for the challenges of middle school.
Research in child development shows that an integrated, intentional approach to the transition between Lower School and Middle School will yield the most significant academic gains and will create greater social-emotional stability. At a time when young students are undergoing so much internal change due to the onset of puberty, our gradual progression avoids a jarring transition to the Middle School. At King, Grade 5 students build the confidence, sense of self-advocacy, and ownership of learning while maintaining high academic standards and learning routines and procedures appropriate to the Middle School.
Departmental focus with subject area teachers: Grade 5 students are taught by expert teachers who are overseen by our PreK-12 Department Chairs. The homeroom teachers help students develop their skills in English and Social Studies, and subject area teachers guide students in Math, Science, World Languages, Art, and Music.
Cross-divisional planning and instruction: The Lower School Director of Teaching and Learning partners with the Middle School Director of Teaching and Learning to ensure that Grade 5 students are best positioned for success upon entering middle school. Curriculum and classroom routines are shared and coordinated across the divisions through meetings, classroom observations, and teacher planning.
Development of executive function: Grade 5 teachers intentionally coach students on materials management and long-term planning, developing student independence and responsibility as they transition between classrooms and maintain organization and supplies for multiple classes.
Leaders of the Lower School: Harnessing the leadership capacity of early adolescents, our Grade 5 students are truly the leaders and role models of the division. Grade 5 students serve as leaders in the Lower School, help to organize and lead assemblies, lead clubs and enrichment programs, and act as ambassadors during school-wide events.
Culmination of Lower School experience: The Lower School program builds towards a wide variety of Grade 5 experiences and events. With capstone projects in Science and Social Studies, the overnight trip to Philadelphia, and the production of the Lower School musical, Grade 5 students have many opportunities to thrive over the course of the year.
Transitional Programming Elements
Our hybrid approach intentionally weaves Grade 5 students into the life of King's Middle School. We guide students through the onset of adolescence by implementing common curricular materials that connect the Lower School and Middle School Life-Skills curriculum. Grade 5 students are mentored by the Grade 8 students over the course of the year to learn to problem-solve and self-advocate. These transitional opportunities help Grade 5 students grow and form positive relationships across divisions.